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Quebec health minister defends quadrupling compensation for Sante Quebec chair

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube responds to reporters questions over negotiations with Quebec doctors, Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press) Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube responds to reporters questions over negotiations with Quebec doctors, Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)
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Strongly criticized by the Parti Québécois (PQ), the Legault government is defending the $173,000 annual remuneration awarded to Christiane Germain, chair of Santé Québec's board of directors.

Last week, a decree announced that Germain, a friend of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), would receive compensation four times higher than anticipated a year ago.

In a press scrum at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé defended Germain's compensation, comparing it to that of the chair of Hydro-Québec's board of directors.

Manon Brouillette's annual remuneration is $195,000, which is $120,000 more than her predecessor Jacinthe Côté.

"Compare it to what Manon Brouillette gets at Hydro-Québec (...) There have been discussions about the scope of the task. It's a big task,” said Dubé, referring to all the work ahead for the Santé Québec agency.

The PQ is accusing the government of misusing public funds in the context of a record $11-billion budget deficit.

The party also points out that the head of Santé Québec, Geneviève Biron, will earn more than $652,000 for the first two years of her mandate and will get a company car.

"This government's use of state resources is almost discretionary, and it's Quebecers' hard-earned money,” PQ member Pascal Bérubé said on Wednesday.

The previous day, the government had rejected a PQ motion denouncing the "unreasonable" decision to "quadruple the allowance granted to the president of Santé Québec's board of directors and to pay for a car for its executive director."

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 29, 2024.

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